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We (my wife, sister, three kids (8,7, and 2) set out from a launch site at Riversports Kayaks on Route 19 (Suncoast Highway) which seems to be a canal a the head of the Halls River. We set out in our wooden three person kayak and a rental double provided Riversport. We meandered through the estuaries and channels with frequent stops to drift. The rental double was quite maneuverable, but getting the larger boat through the oxbows took a little finesse. Most of the trip was serene and quite. These areas are what Florida looked like before massive development.
We saw no manatees while we were paddling, but also did not go out of way to find them. The Homosassa State Park is a showcase for manatees, and is located about a quarter mile east (upstream) of the confluence of the Homosassa and Halls Rivers. Boaters congregate at the sand bar that is present at the park borders, but boats cannot enter the park. Word has it that manatees frequent this area, and the River in general. Manatees can also be seen by visiting the state park, a worthwhile excursion.
We continued downstream on the Homosassa another mile or so to a motel/marina called Macrae's, where we were stayed. I believe we were the only guests to arrive by kayak. The motel is recommended, but river access is either at the powerboat docks or adjacent concrete boat ramp. A sandier take out is present on the south shoreline about another mile or so downstream at another public launch. There are a number of public and private launch sites along the river. Launching at Riversport will cost you two dollars. The entire trip totaled about 5 miles, with about 3.5 on the Halls. We did it in about 3.5 hours, moving at a relatively slow pace.
MacRaes (352-628-2922) is a motel/marina/fishing shop/launch site, and serves food at the dockside bar. A number of other motels restaurants, campgrounds, marinas, and launch sites are located along the Homosassa River. Some of the restaurants are located on the water.
2300 South Suncoast Blvd.
Homosassa, Florida 34448
352-621-4972 or Toll Free at 877-660-0929
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